AUSTIN (KXAN)– On Tuesday, Austin singer-songwriter Ben Kweller announced the death of his son, Dorian Zev Kweller. He was 16.
In an Instagram post, Kweller said Dorian was killed Monday night in a car crash.
The Dripping Springs community held a vigil in his honor Tuesday night.
“He just he was an amazing, gifted, caring person who just wanted everyone to be happy,” said Dorian’s friend Collin Beck.
Dorian was a musician, just like Kweller, and released several songs under the name Zev, according to an article from Entertainment Tonight News.
Dorian was signed to record label The Noise Company, who said he died in a “tragic event” Monday night in a Facebook post.
“It’s with great sadness that we have to even say this… in a tragic event last night, we lost Dorian Kweller, who on this page we know as @reallyzev … this young man represented everything positive in life and the future. A kind heart, a smile that illuminated the world and passion for life and music,” the statement said in part.
In his Instagram post, Kweller said Dorian wrote and recorded songs every day. Dorian was planning to perform at SXSW in March.
“A true poet from the day he started speaking,” Kweller said. “Only a few of his recordings were released but he was on a path and excited about his journey. He had so many plans!!! His first gig was in two weeks, at SXSW.”
Kweller said his last text with Dorian was about the merch he wanted to make.
“We’re in complete shock and don’t know what the future holds,” Kweller said. “Lizzy, Judah, and I have no idea how to deal with this disaster. Thank you for your prayers and support and we apologize if we are slow to respond to messages.”
Dorian’s friends said he was one of the most talented people they knew.
“You give him a bass guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, a piano, he could play it all. He just wanted to share the music with people and he wanted people to enjoy it,” Beck said.
How is the music community reacting?
Rikky Hardy with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians said Ben and his family have made a lasting impact on the music community in Central Texas.
“Ben has been a huge advocate for musicians having access to health care in Austin,” Hardy said.
She said now it’s time for that community to uplift the Kweller family.
“The Austin music community is really rallying around Ben and I, I hope and think they will continue to do so and support them through this,” Hardy said.
Previous story with the Kweller family
In 2019, Kweller spoke with KXAN about how the family nearly endured another tragedy in 2013.
Kweller, his wife Liz and his sons, Dorian and Judah, were in the mountains of New Mexico on vacation. “My wife woke up in the middle of the night and said, ‘Ben, get up. Something’s horribly wrong,’” Kweller said. “And I stood up and immediately collapsed to the ground.”
The pair was able to make it out of the home and later learned they were all exposed to acute carbon monoxide poisoning.
“That was the first time where I was really, like, rattled to my core and realized just how special my family is,” the normally go-with-the-flow musician explained. “And it just put everything in perspective.”
Kweller stepped away from music following the incident in New Mexico. In 2021, he released “Circuit Boredom” — his first album in nearly a decade.